Peninsula Enterprise, March 24, 1894


Natural resources -- Conservation - Game

The Board of Supervisors at its meeting, held last Wednesday, entered an order, "that it would not be allowed any further accounts of any person for killing hawks, foxes and owls." To allow these accounts is in the discretion of the board under the law.


Weather -- Other

The oldest residents declare that this has been the warmest, brightest and most delightful March they have ever seen. The weather is like that of June and growing crops are said to be further advanced by several weeks than they usually are at this time.


Tourists and sportsmen -- Field sports - Hunting : Other

The credit of killing that eagle, reported in our last issue, is due to Mr. Wicks -- and the correction is made by "special request" of Mr. James.


African-Americans -- Other

The procession that followed the remains of Simon Rayfield, an old colored man who died suddenly at Accomac C. H. on Sunday night, to the grave, was the largest that has been seen in this section for some time. There were over fifty vehicles in the funeral train.


Infrastructure -- Public : Churches

Belle Haven.

The protracted meetings which have been in progress at the Presbyterian Church have closed. The total number of conversions were 108, which is the largest ever known in the history of this town, and probably the Eastern Shore. Mr. Gales left on Wednesday for Wachapreague, where he will begin a meeting in the Presbyterian Church. He won the hearts of every one in this whole community and will be followed by the prayers of many persons who have been led to Christ through his preaching.


Transportation -- Railroad - SteamboatsSea -- Shellfish - Oystering : SeasideLaborers -- FisheriesSea -- Shellfish - Oystering : PackingInfrastructure -- Commercial - Residential development


Officials of P. W. &. B. R. R., while here a few days ago, had under consideration the running of steamer Chincoteague to Wishart's Point from this place three times a week, and ordered crew of steamer to that point on a prospecting tour. The stockholders of Wallop's Island also want the steamer to touch at that point. It is a matter of considerable interest to our people and should be to citizens of Wishart's Point and vicinity, and the enterprise should not fail surely for lack of interest by parties to be benefitted.

Quite a number of our oystermen, who have not found their business profitable this season are turning their attention to trucks and larger shipments in this line are expected than ever before.

Mr. B. F. Collins, who moved here about 18 months ago and opened "shucking business" has prospered and is giving employment to very many of our citizens.

Mr. Beecher, one of the stockholders of Wallops Island, is there at this writing, for the purpose, it is said, of laying off a portion of the beach into building lots.


Infrastructure -- Public : Street lightsSea -- Finfish - Methods : Pound-net


Bailiff Riley has been improving the streets this week. Tuesday he planted a new lamp on College Ave., near the bridge. He never fails to look after the interests of his town.

The bay shore trappers are making ready their nets for the first run of fish.

Farmers Alliance.

Farmers -- Farmers' organizations

A meeting of Golden Rule Farmers Alliance is called to meet at their hall on Saturday, March 24th, 3 p. m. All members in good standing are requested to be present.

A. W. JAMES, Sec'y.

Maryland Pirates.

Sea -- Shellfish - Oystering : BaysideSea -- Shellfish - Oystering : Law enforcement

The following telegram speaks for itself. It is hard to conceive how a band of such desperadoes as those Capt. Reed has to contend with is permitted to exist in a civilized community:

Tasley, Va., March 16, -- On Thursday night at 7 o'clock, while anchored at "Horse Hammock," in Virginia waters, the Virginia police schooner Tangier was attacked from the shore of Smith's Island, Maryland, by 25 or 30 Marylanders, armed with the best repeating rifles.

They fired on the schooner and I returned the fire with my rifles and then with my cannon, one or more cannon shot striking the storehouse from which they were firing.

They are throwing up forts and breastworks on Smith's Island, Maryland, from which to fire at us under protection.

There were 25 or 30 Virginians up there camped on the shore where they had been tonging, who witnessed the fight and had to run for their lives.

The Marylanders have sworn to kill the whole crew of the police schooner Tangier, so they cannot be witnesses against them.


Com. Police Schooner Tangier.

Oyster Legislation.

Sea -- Shellfish - Oystering : LegislationSea -- Shellfish - Crabbing : LegislationSea -- Shellfish - Clamming : Legislation

A few important bills relating to oysters passed the late General Assembly and have become laws.

Hereafter all tongmen desiring to take oysters will be required by law to register with the inspector. This registration involves no fee. The tax upon those using ordinary tongs, remains the same. Those using patent tongs can be assessed at their option on their report of weekly sales, or in lieu thereof pay a specific fee of $5.00 for the season. The law in regard to the registration and numbering of boats remains the same.

The rental tax, per acre, on the ocean side of Accomac and Northampton has been reduced to 25 cents; but no renting is to be valid, in any case, until the rent is paid in advance for twelve months. Any person now using planting-grounds on which rent has not been paid, will be summarily dispossessed by the inspector, who has the power to sell enough plants on said ground to pay all rent due. But the bona fide renter is secured in holding by the State, and his lease is made a chattel real, passing at his death to his heirs or personal representatives. Sub-letting and subrenting is permitted, provided the amount charged is not greater than that paid by the renter, and with the consent of the inspector. The renter can have his survey recorded in the clerk's office, as deeds are recorded; the fees of clerks are provided for and by whom paid. By conjoint action with Maryland, the tonging season will continue from September 1st to April 25th. The dredging season is from October 15th to March 5th.

The section of the law requiring the county court to decide the question as to natural rock has been repealed, except as to such cases as are now pending in courts. An appropriation has been made to have the late geodetic surveys and plats published, and this survey has been declared a finality after four months recordation. Prior to that limit, natural oyster rocks of twenty-five adjacent acres may be redeemed from planting ground, if omitted in the survey, by due procedure, the necessary steps for which have been provided for.

An appropriation of $10,500, was made, subject to the discretion and management on the Board on the Chesapeake, to provide additional police protection for the sounds. The plan proposed is to build a strong and powerful steam-launch, well plated and well armed, and equipped with a powerful search-light.

Standard metallic measures for measuring all oysters bought and sold in the State have been provided for. These measures are to be supplied by the Board of the Chesapeake, and bear a seal. The use of any other measure in the State is made a felony.

The assessment on planted oysters will be made by the inspector, who will also collect the tax. The fee for this service is 10 per cent, on amount collected. This is the proper assessment on personal property; the inspector merely taking the places of the commissioner of the revenue and treasurer. The cull law remains the same.

A somewhat unique feature in Virginia legislation is the new clam law. This act provides that any ground, not natural oyster rock, bed or shoal, and not already assigned for planting purposes, may be, on application of twenty citizens, laid off and designated as clamming ground; provided in the opinion of the inspector a person can realize at least seventy-five cents, per day, catching clams from said ground. This ground is to be designated by accurate metes and bounds, and set apart for the public, as natural clamming ground. But non-residents are prohibited under penalty from working thereon.

Crabbing with scrapes and dredges in Virginia waters by non-residents is made a felony, and all crabbing is prohibited on natural oyster beds and rented grounds.

A great deal of watchful care was exercised by Tidewater representatives to preserve the rights of Virginia waters to her own citizens. The greed for oyster revenue which threatens to open the doors to non-resident planters has been stoutly resisted. Some pretty severe battles were fought in the committees of both Houses, and while the present status of oyster legislation is not all the oystermen would have wanted it, it is perhaps the very best that could be obtained just now. Under the present phase of oyster sentiment throughout the State, oyster and revenues have come to be synonymous terms. The theory has been officially promulgated that mines of public wealth are locked up in our natural oyster beds, and that every acre of bottom, covered by salt water, offers a rich field for cultivation. "A million of acres and a million of dollars" is an arithmetical proposition as simple as it is pleasing. And, unfortunately, while the great body of the State is a unit on the theory of revenue, Tidewater Virginia is divided and distracted on its local issues and interests. The tonger, the dredger and the planter are too far apart to recognize a common interest in this great industry. It is to be hoped that all sections and all classes of oystermen will accept the present law as the best that could be secured for them just now and with a determination to shake hands over their differences. They are at least to be congratulated that our present Governor has a sufficient breadth of executive wisdom and discretion to take in all the diversified interests of the people of Virginia, and that the welfare of the oyster industry will be safe in his hands.

The Eastern Shore Game Association.

Natural resources -- Conservation - Game

The members of the Eastern Shore Game Protective Association, and all others interested, are requested to meet at Accomac C. H., on Monday next, for the purpose of preparing a constitution and by-laws and also to perfect our organization.




Sea -- Shellfish - Oystering : SeasideSea -- Shellfish - Oystering : PlantingNatural resources -- Conservation - Game


The people of Chincoteague, ever ready to accord praise to whom it is due, feel that they are under a debt of gratitude, to those in and out of office who have been untiring in their efforts, to relieve them in part of the grievous burdens they have has to bear for years past. Of course they are interested in the oyster question; that constitutes their chief means of living, and an unnecessary tax upon their means of living is at once an imposition and oppression. So little has been done for them by legislators in the past, that the active and untiring efforts of our senator, Dr. George W. LeCato, to reduce the rental of the oyster lands, to twenty-five cents per acre, entitles him to their lasting gratitude and praise. Baited by the cry of revenue, the people outside of the oyster counties of Virginia, who know little of the troubles of oystermen, and seem to care less, would if they could, impose all the burdens of taxation upon oysters, and oystermen. In view of this fact, our able senator has to fight against big odds, but to his honor be it said, won a complete victory. We had predicted for him a career of usefulness and honor, but had not supposed that he would go through one session of the General Assembly of Virginia, with so little criticism. Only ability of a high order, unbending integrity, calm judgement and shrewd political sagacity, could have accomplished such results. Verily Accomac county never had an abler or better representative in the Senate of Virginia. With him also we desire to thank Dr. Charles Smith, of Northampton, and Major Baker P. Lee, of Elizabeth City county, for their valuable assistance in securing the passage of the bill to reduce the rental on oyster grounds. But this is not all. Senator LeCato deserves much credit for his entire course in his present position, not the least among which are the bills to protect sheep and game. This last bill, as we take it, is either much misunderstood or very much misrepresented, so far as it applies to non-residents. Under its terms, as we have understand it, non-residents have all the privileges of hunting here, by joining the "Game Protective Association," which they can do by paying an entrance fee of two dollars and one dollar per year dues. This will bar none who wishes to gun here, and much as it may be said that every bird or duck they kill costs them several dollars, we are frank to say, that any non-resident who desires to hunt our game and refuses to pay three dollars a year for the privilege, has no business coming here for that purpose. Besides, the money derived from this source may be and doubtless will be, used in stocking our county with [illegible]. While thanking our public servants for their active efforts in our behalf, too much praise cannot be accorded some of our own citizens in private life, who did so much to help the passage of the bill, above maned. Notably among these may be named, Mr. J. A. M. Whealton, who drew the petition which was sent of to the "General Assembly," setting forth all the facts, and securing so many signers, and O. M. Jones, who by his clear and concise letters to the Richmond papers, made our position so plain. These two honest, straightforward, old fashioned Democrats are ever alive, not only to the interests of the people here, but ever active in the interests of the Democratic party. With them at the helm, and our interests respected, Democracy will grow stronger here. Pardon the length of this, for the people here who so largely subscribe for your valuable paper, feel that they have a right to be heard through its columns upon questions in which they are so deeply interested.


Chincoteague, Va., March 16th, 1894.


Sea -- Shellfish - Oystering : BaysideSea -- Shellfish - Oystering : Law enforcement

Our friends of Tangier Island seem embittered against Capt. Al. Reed of the oyster police boat Tangier. They have gone as far as to send a representative, backed by a petition, asking his removal. They declare him afraid to meet the marauding Marylanders, and bring charges of dereliction in duty. An investigation will, we doubt not, refute all the charges against him. The marauding fleet is very strong; armed with repeating rifles of large calibre, capable of throwing a ball two miles with effect and well manned for resistance. Capt. Reed's schooner is not more than 35 tons. She is armed with rifles of much smaller calibre, of shorter range, and an old condemned Dahlgren gun, which is more dangerous to his crew and ship than to the enemy -- and is not so well manned. Besides his boat is weak -- every discharge of the worthless Dahlgren threatening her safety. It is one poorly equipped against so many thoroughly manned and armed. Capt. Reed cannot cope with such an enemy -- and no man who understands the situation can rightfully expect he can. He does more than could be expected -- all things considered. No one who knows him, or his past, can doubt his willingness to do his duty. He is handicapped -- by no fault of his own. Give him the means -- then see if he fails. Indiscretion and rash impulse are by no means indications of courage; prudence and wise discretion do not show cowardice or disloyalty. The bravest and most loyal cannot do the impossible. Did he pursue a course, by rash impulse, leading to loss of men or boat, or both, the anathemas of now would pale before the maranathas which would then be poured upon him. It is one thing to stand off in a safe place -- see, hear, or read, of "a tug of war," and criticize the leader and the work and another to conduct it, badly prepared, with all the responsibilities.

We are at a loss to understand the change of front of our friends of Tangier. But a short time ago they were loud in their praises of Capt. Reed's courage, efficiency and fealty to duty. To day a change has come over the spirit of their dreams, and a bitter antagonism is developed. Why? What has been done to effect such a change at this time? Is it Capt. Reed's record? He stands on that. It is open and clear. He courts investigation. Of captures the clerk's office shows more to his credit than anyone else. That would [illegible] courage, efficiency, fealty, [illegible].

We cannot believe [illegible] Reed is either afraid to do his duty, or is in any way unfit for his post if we judge his present by his past record.

Peninsula Enterprise
Accomac Court House
March 24, 1894